If you can dream it, you can do it!

03 November 2017 | The bull ring has been here since 1895. We peeped through a letter box to look at the inside, which I have to say was very ornate. But I had no desire to witness a fight.
31 October 2017
31 October 2017 | This is what 5 grands worth of new sails look like! Shame they have not had much use in the last few weeks!!!
31 October 2017 | 50 shades of pink looking her best!
31 October 2017 | The water got smoother and smoother. Hard to believe that we were several miles out in the Atlantic!
31 October 2017 | This is the harbour entrance to the River Douro, taken by Russ of Pelora the day the big storm passed through. The contrast from when we came in 24 hours earlier is mind blowing!
31 October 2017 | Ponte da Arràbida - our marina was just before this bridge, which is one of many on the River Douro
31 October 2017 | This is the communal wash house which dates back to the first origins of this fishing village
31 October 2017 | The inside of the wash house
31 October 2017 | And this is where the laundry is all dried.
31 October 2017 | One of the old warehouses on the Gaia side of the Douro - and there she is - THAT woman!
31 October 2017 | Many of the houses are dressed in wonderful ceramics, typical of the region. Sadly this one was in dis-repair
31 October 2017 | A boatyard where even today, the traditional wooden hulled boats used on the Douro are still made. We watched this boat being manually pulled out onto the slipway!
31 October 2017 | The port wine cellars of the many famous port houses: Churchill, Grahams, Ferreiara, Cockburns, Krohn, Taylor's, Croft, Offley, Ramos Pinto, Vasconcellos, Porto Cruz, Calèm and of course, Sandeman
31 October 2017 | The Rabelo boats, that carried the port wine from the Douro valley vineyards to the port wine cellars of Gaia.
31 October 2017 | Personally, we prefer our port in a glass!
31 October 2017 | The port houses are in evidence everywhere - here is a name we all know
31 October 2017 | Todays bench shot. The bridge dominates the Porto-Gaia landscape
31 October 2017 | The cable car and the Ponte de Dom Luìs 1 bridge
31 October 2017 | Porto to the right, Gaia to the left. By joining the two names together,this is how the modern name of Portugal came about

Nisos Crete - Kolimvari

25 September 2023
Jane Paulson
Kolimvari has not sold its soul like many other places. There is tourism here but it is not as popular as the nearby resorts of Maleme and Platanias. The sandy beach stretches for several kilometres and has crystal clear water.
It is also well known for the Orthodox Academy of Crete and the Monastery of Gonia .

Our friends Derrick and Marilyn, who we last saw in Chania 4 years ago, live here, having left the UK 7 years ago. They tipped us off about a marina that is here but yet again, is not managed so would be free to stay. When we had our hire car we drove here to check it out and found that we would be able to go alongside as there was plenty of space. But we realised there would be no electricity and having tried most of the taps there would be no water either. Not a huge problem as of course we have solar and windy miller and plenty of water. Besides, we were only planning on being here a couple of days. Long enough to spend some time with Derek and Marilyn before working our way around to the South coast. The best-laid plans of mice and men..............

About half an hour after our arrival a Catamaran arrived and parked up directly behind us. We had no idea where they had come from as we certainly hadn't seen them out on the water. It was as if they had morphed out of nowhere!!!. We helped them with their lines – 2 Frenchmen – and afterwards, to our amazement, watched as they turned on the tap on the very last pod and water gushed out. It appears that the municipality have left just one tap operable for visiting yachts. But no electricity.

We had suggested a day out on Stiletto to Derrick and Marilyn. Derek suffers with sea sickness so we had to pick a very calm day. That day was in fact the next day. The weather forecast was perfect. Very light wind and a flat sea.

So, we met up with them both for supper and discussed a plan for the next day. That plan was to motor out to Goat Island, 2 hours away, drop the hook, swim, have lunch, chill and then motor back. It was the perfect plan. Derrick had anti sickness chewing gum (we had never heard of it) that worked a treat and in fact, he took the wheel all the way to the island. We had a couple of hours at anchor before motoring back. The sea state had changed somewhat and we had swell on our beam which caused us to rock and roll and wasn't particularly nice. Clearly a pre- curser to what was to come !!!!

Thankfully our slot on the dock was still available and our French neighbours helped us with our lines and we tied up, showered and met up with Derrick and Marilyn and their friends Mick and Julie for supper.

Next day, all hell broke loose. The sea state was horrid. The sky was dark and swell was coming into the marina. We decided to change our lines and put on our metal springs. This would avoid the horrible jerking that comes with swell. A REALLY good call - that's experience for you!!

So, that was Sunday 3rd September. Tuesday resulted in a serious team talk as the weather had not improved. Cyclone Daniel (bless him – NOT) meant that we would be staying put for however long. This of course had a huge impact on our plans to continue our circumnavigation of the island, and after looking at the weather systems, we made the decision that time would not be on our side and we would have to forgo our South Coast Adventure. Instead, we would sit it out here where we were safe, we had access to water and we could at least get off the boat, meet up with Derrick and Marilyn, go to the supermarket, or just sit in the beach cafe people watching and drinking Ouzo !!!!
So that's basically what we have done.

In total, we have had 11 days of very big seas, unrelenting winds, rain and some thunderstorms and lightning. Plus spray coming over the breakwater wall so consequently Stiletto is caked in salt and there is also a fine film of salt over everything down below. Everything feels damp. It's bloomin' horrible. But we have repeatedly said to one another “ this was the right call”.

Day 12 it looked much more settled and we will hopefully get away .

Our French neighbours invited us on board for drinks and we had a really enjoyable couple of hours with them. They were planning on leaving 2 days before us and we watched as they left the marina and hit the swell. We thought they were insane to leave under such horrible conditions but they had family flying out and they needed to be in Souda to meet them. At times such as this, people feel under pressure and make bad decisions. From what we could see, they were in for a very challenging passage.

As the south coast is no longer an option for us, instead we are going to retrace our steps back to Porto Gouves. There we will meet up with UK friends Ros and Jules who by coincidence are there for a week's holiday.

Watch this space !!!!!!

Inspirational thought for this post: it's not who is right, but what is right, that is important.

Nisos Crete - Kolimvari

25 September 2023
Jane Paulson
The marina. Little did we know that we would be here for 12 days !!!!

Nisos Crete - Kolimvari

25 September 2023
Jane Paulson
Introducing Derrick and Marilyn

Nisos Crete - Kolimvari

25 September 2023
Jane Paulson
The beautiful calm before the horrible storm!!
Hard to believe that the next day it was oh, so different!!!

Nisos Crete - Kolimvari

25 September 2023
Jane Paulson
The sky was low, dark and depressing. We couldn't see the mountains for days.

Nisos Crete - Kolimvari

25 September 2023
Jane Paulson
Waves crashing against the breakwater resulted in serious spray and the swell that found its way in to the marina resulted in what we call "transom slap" which is basically an infuriating thudding sound caused by a surge of water hitting the back of Stiletto. It almost drove us nuts !!!!
Vessel Name: Stiletto
Vessel Make/Model: Bavaria 33 Cruiser
Hailing Port: Gosport, UK
Crew: Andreas Giles & Jane Paulson
We have been sailing together for 18 years and have owned Stiletto for 16 of them. We have exhausted the Solent and the UK South Coast and all the other usual passages: West Country, France, Channel Islands etc. that are available from our home port of Gosport. [...]